After our store got ahold of the Synesso Hydra, our buddies at Companion Bakeshop in Santa Cruz were stoked. As I have stated before, Synesso makes top quality equipment that has tech/coffee guys talkin about their products around the water cooler… or I guess the Bunn boiler. So, our friends decided to upgrade their espresso machine and opted for the Synesso Cyncra. I was lucky enough to be invited behind the counter for a hands on look of their new Cyncra.
The first thing I did was oggle at the thing for about a minute. It is a thing of engineering beauty, streamlined, chrome, symmetrical, industrial, yet sleek and elegant. Rather than being an “art piece” like a Marzocco, it feels like a towering engineering masterpiece. The two group head version Companion picked up looks pretty much like a baby Hydra (the excitement I got out of playing with this machine, you’d think it was a real baby hydra). Digital displays, lever controlled double insulated steam wands, paddle group heads, the works. It is, from my perspective, the perfect machine for their store. In a really fast paced setting, the automation of the Hydra and a bigger machine would be more ideal. But, since they have a relatively low volume of coffee sales in comparison to their artisan pastries, it makes perfect sense.
As I have alluded to earlier (and it is quite apparent to me anyways), I am not really a tech person, so I will speak of this masterpiece from an amateur’s point of view, focusing on how the thing works in real use. The Cyncra, like the Hydra, has pre-infusion. At first I was a little thrown off; at Lulu’s, we have the thing dialed in to put the paddle up full blast, have the pumps kick in after about 10 seconds, then gradually bring the pressure down after a few seconds to get the perfect 25-27 pour. My first shot on the Cyncra was a dud. Andy told me their machine worked in the opposite manner. Since the machine is set to manual, you put the pressure up part way to pre-infuse, then kick up the pump all the way. **Scott from Synesso contacted and corrected me on my prior statements. The Cyncra does have timed pre-infusion, but this particular machine is set to manual. Thank you for letting me know Scott! Would never want to misrepresent such an amazing product.** To be honest, I actually liked the manual process a little better since it felt more fun. I think under the right circumstances and with a well trained hand, this machine could be a barista’s best friend; you feel like you are driving an S2000 in manual down the highway, blastin through the first 3 gears, feeling in complete control. Kudo’s Synesso, though this may seem like a “step down” from the higher end models, I could see myself really loving both systems.
My dad drives a Mazda Miyata, not exactly a “sports car,” more of a roadster. I could allude to the Cyncra and the Hydra in car terms; the Hydra is the Acura NSX and the Cyncra is the Miyata, two outstanding, fun, well performing cars that are both high end but in different ways. We are talking about which is best amongst the best machines made. It is not the same as the Hydra and it definitely feels different. The size of the machine makes it feel fast and smooth. I was able to easily work around the group heads and bar area without feeling like I was dwarfed by a big machine. The simplistic ergonomical engineering of Synesso’s equipment makes doing my job a “fun drive.” And, I have to hand it to Synesso again, the steam wands on this thing are phenomenal. So velvety and rich, just unrivaled quality for milk steaming.Jeremy, the owner of Companion, put it very cynically, “you have to try to make bad milk on this thing.” I agree friend. Their old machine was fun, but we all realized that it was nothing compared to this. Companion’s baristas also realized that their coffee skills were not the problem a week ago, it was the limits of their machine.
Some customers saw the three of us pulling shots, drinking caps, and chatting up the Cyncra. They said we looked like a few guys around a rebuilt engine. We all had a good laugh and realized that yes, as coffee nerds, this was our equivalent of the guy’s complimenting the new muscle car on the block.
Overall, I must say that this is a fantastic machine. For the pricepoint, I think it is really unmatched in terms of quality and value. A lot of pricier machines will put out a better product more consistently, but I really think that I could do exceptionally high quality work and give those guys a run for their money with the Cyncra. The folks at Companion are pleased with their machine and I was happy to get the chance to test it out. Thank you again Companion and congratulations on your purchase. Synesso, I again bow to your amazing products. Thank you for what you do for the industry and keep up the outstanding work.